Formula One Closes In On $8.5B Sale To U.S.-Qatari Consortium (2nd Update)

UPDATE #2 Chinese investors "are in pole position to shape the future" of F1 as one of the country's largest investment firms backs an $8.5B takeover bid for the sport, according to Mark Kleinman of SKY NEWS.

China Media Capital is leading a group of Chinese firms that want to invest roughly $1.5B in an offer being assembled by NFL Miami Dolphins Owner Stephen Ross. Ross's consortium is "understood to be planning to write in the coming days to CVC Capital Partners, F1's controlling shareholder, to seek a 90-day period of exclusivity" during which it would hold "detailed talks" with F1 CEO Bernie Ecclestone and undertake due diligence.

CMC is among a group of Chinese media investors — which also include Fosun and Wanda — pursuing "rapid global expansion," recently unveiling a partnership with Hollywood studio Warner Bros. Entertainment to produce Chinese-language films for distribution around the world.

The proposed takeover of F1, "which remains far from certain to take place," still requires roughly $2B in additional equity from other investors. Insiders said that CVC has not yet decided "whether to grant the exclusivity request." Qatar Sports Investments, which owns Paris St. Germain and had been tipped as a partner of Ross, is reportedly “now on the periphery of the deal and may not participate at all."

Sources said that the consortium "was keen" for Ecclestone to "retain his role overseeing its racing operations, while a new commercial team would look to exploit the sport's media and sponsorship rights more aggressively." A source close to the bid said, "They believe they can double F1's profits." Goldman Sachs is advising CVC on the discussions, while Ross's consortium is being advised by N.Y.-based merchant bank Raine. SKY NEWS

10/16/15 n $8.5B takeover bid for F1 headed up by Stephen Ross has added to its ranks a group of Chinese firms, led by China Media Capital, that is looking to invest roughly $1.5B. Ross' consortium is "understood to be planning to write in the coming days to CVC Capital Partners, F1's controlling shareholder, to seek a 90-day period of exclusivity during which it would hold detailed talks" with F1 CEO Bernie Ecclestone. Qatar Sports Investments "had been tipped as a partner" of Ross but is now "on the periphery of the deal and may not participate at all" SKY.com

10/08/15

Miami Dolphins Owner Stephen Ross

The sale of Formula 1 is "nearing the finishing line" as a U.S.-Qatari consortium "closes in on a deal" valuing the motor racing company at $8.5B, according to Moore & Massoudi of the FINANCIAL TIMES.

NFL Miami Dolphins Owner Stephen Ross, who heads the consortium, and CVC, the private equity group that owns 35.5% of F1, have "shaken hands" on a possible deal, said two people close to the negotiations.

One member of Ross's consortium said, "We are well along the way." Ross's group has "only recently begun its due diligence and still needs to raise further investment."

One person with knowledge of the negotiations said, "They are doing due diligence now and everything could still fall apart."

Ross said that he "hoped for a deal within 30 days."

CVC and Ross's representatives "declined to comment."

F1's minority investors, which include Waddell & Reed, Norges Bank Investment Management and BlackRock, "did not respond to requests for comment."

F1 CEO Bernie Ecclestone said that he had met Ross, who "was in London last weekend ahead of the Miami Dolphins' game at Wembley Stadium."

Ecclestone: "We did not talk about what you think. He had a non-disclosure agreement. So we talked about American football. I like him, he is one of us. He can help us and I would be happy to have him as F1's owner." FT

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